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India, Thailand discuss ways to strengthen defence ties

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh makes his statement as his Thai counterpart Abhisit Vejjajiva during a joint press conference in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photot: PTI

NEW DELHI (PTI): India and Thailand on Tuesday held wide-ranging discussions covering the entire gamut of bilateral relations with focus on strengthening cooperation in the field of defence, security and trade.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Thai counterpart Abhisit Vejjajiva, who is here on a day-long visit, also agreed to initiate a senior official-level dialogue between their Defence Ministries.

"The Prime Minister and I have had wide-ranging discussions covering the entire gamut of our bilateral relations. We have had a meeting of minds on how to move our relations forward," Singh said after the meeting.

He said the two have agreed to intensify the cooperation in the areas of trade and investment, education, tourism and culture.

"Our bilateral trade turnover has reached 6 billion US dollars. We have agreed to aim towards doubling of our trade by 2014. We have agreed to expedite the conclusion of negotiations on a bilateral Free Trade Agreement that would include goods, services and investment," he said noting that India welcomes more Thai investment.

Singh said India sees Thailand as playing a positive role "in our efforts to catalyse development and improve connectivity of our Northeastern states with the ASEAN region", to which the visiting leader assured his continued support.

Unequivocally condemning terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, the two leaders stressed that there could be no justification whatsoever for any act of terrorism.

"Recognising the common threats to national security from transnational crimes, including international terrorism, the two Prime Ministers resolved to significantly enhance bilateral cooperation in combating terrorism, including in restricting transnational movement and unauthorized stay of known terrorists in each other's countries," the joint statement said.

The two leaders resolved to commit their countries to improve sharing of intelligence, the development of more effective counter-terrorism policies, enhance liaison between law enforcement agencies, provide assistance in the areas of border and immigration control to stem the flow of terrorist related material, money and people and specific measures against transnational crimes, through the already existing mechanisms between Thailand and India.

Both the leaders agreed that the next (6th) meeting of the Joint Working Group on Security Cooperation be held within the next six months.


India  Thailand  defence  

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